TACOMA - May 12, 2003 - The top state and federal law enforcement officials in Washington announced today they will conduct a joint state and federal investigation into all aspects of the murder and suicide involving Crystal Brame and her husband Tacoma Police Chief David Brame.
The announcement was made by Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire, Washington State Patrol Chief Ronal Serpas, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington John McKay and the FBI's Special Agent in Charge Charlie Mandigo.
"We will conduct a rigorous, independent and thorough criminal investigation into all aspects of this troubling case," Gregoire said. "We will pursue this case wherever the facts lead us without fear or favor and we will aggressively prosecute if that is where the evidence leads us."
The Washington State Patrol already has begun the investigation of the case. At the request of Pierce County Prosecutor Gerald Horne, the Attorney General's Office will lead the prosecution team.
Serpas and Gregoire said they asked the FBI and U.S. Attorney to join in the investigation. They did so to help ensure public confidence in a thorough and independent investigation and to have federal officials ready in case any violations of federal law are uncovered.
"I have made this a top priority. We want to make sure we are prepared to respond wherever the evidence leads us," Chief Serpas explained. "If we uncover evidence of state crimes or federal crimes, we will be ready to respond."
Serpas said he can't predict when the investigation will be completed, but added, "we have a sense of urgency to finish it as soon as possible."
"Early investigation indicates the possibility that federal statutes may have been violated," McKay added. "We have no definite violations of federal law, but this partnership will help us respond if we do find evidence of a crime."
The State Patrol remains the lead investigative agency in the investigation. "The State Patrol has the lead. If we come to a point where there is evidence of a violation of federal law, we will take charge of that portion of the investigation," Mandigo said.
The four officials said there is a lot of rumor and speculation regarding the case and they urged people not to have premature expectations about an outcome.
Gregoire said King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng has agreed to lend his Chief Criminal Deputy, Mark Larson, to the investigative team.
Gregoire said the goal is to provide the public with all the facts behind the tragedy.
"Hopefully those facts will serve as a roadmap for any criminal charges and administrative reforms for the city," she said. "The real point of this investigation is that an innocent life was lost with the murder of Crystal Brame. We need to find out why and make sure this never happens again."
Gregoire and Serpas expressed their appreciation to McKay, Mandigo and Maleng for joining the state team.